Ayam Masak Kicap / Chicken in Soy Sauce Malay style


If you find yourself hip hopping away in Beyonce aka Sasha Fierce’s energetic concert; ablazing with style and attitude, without a doubt you gotta like Malay cuisine. Just like Beyonce’s dramatic stage performances, Malay food can be a little daunting because of the different aromatic spices, roots and herbs needed just to create one performance/one dish.

To put mildly, unlike Vietnamese food that is mainstream, ever so calmingly kumbaya and healing, Malay food is very much not shy but experimental, spicy, fiery, full of flavours, teasing your taste palate to a whole different culinary experience that you will always be asking for more.

This is why I can never say no to Malay food. To complete your Southeast Asian culinary journey, your layover in Malaysia is achingly compulsory.

Malay food in Malaysia, especially the Peninsula, has an intriguing deeply-layered complex flavours and spices because well, historically Malaysia was the centre of the spice trade, once a spice powerhub dated back in the 15th century.

You want some food swag? This is it.


To make this mouth-watering Malay dish, Ayam Masak Kicap (Chicken cooked with soy sauce gravy) frankly speaking, can be time consuming but if you enjoy cooking as much as I do, (especially the blending of the ingredients), then this is a Malay dish you might want to give it a go!

Level: Not too difficult

4-5 chicken thighs / drumsticks skinned marinated with turmeric and salt

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 cardamom pods, bruised

1 lemongrass, bruised

2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce (kicap pekat)

2 tablespoons of sweet soy sauce (kicap manis)

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

Black pepper



1 long red chili, sliced

1 carrot, sliced thinly

Blend these:

2 long red chilies

6 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

½ inch ginger

1 medium onion, cut

Heat oil in the pan over a medium heat, fry the marinated chicken thighs/drumsticks. Once half-cooked, remove the chicken thighs/drumsticks from the pan and set aside on a kitchen towel. Blend the ingredients and set aside.

Using the same pan earlier, discard a bit of oil if necessary. Stir in the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods and lemongrass for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the blended ingredients. Continue stirring until slightly brown, slowly adding in the dark soy sauce, sweet soy sauce and oyster sauce. Sprinkle some sugar. Then, add the chicken pieces and fry until cooked through. Sprinkle some black pepper. Cook for 2 minutes before adding in half cup of water. Lastly, simmer the gravy about 10 minutes, or until thick.

Garnish with sliced chili and carrot. Serve with rice.

  • Make sure you do not use too much water for this recipe, we want the sauce to be quite thick.